Thursday, January 31, 2008

Musings in the Middle of the Night

It is 1:21 in the a.m. and my chest is heavy and thick with the junk. I can’t sleep, at least not well, so I am surfing and finishing assignments and thinking about how tired I am. So here are some rambling thoughts in the wee hours of the morning:

HONG KONG PHOOEY is headed to the house. I love introducing those great cartoon favorites to my daughter. God bless Netflix for keeping so many wonderful titles in stock. I cannot wait.

I have a test in PE coming up. No kidding? A test in a PE class? What is the point of that? Not that I mind being assessed for my learning. That’s the game. It seems to me that there are other options that would give a better assessment of our learning. It’s an interesting class. He talks a lot about the legalities of teaching and coaching.


I may be a bit tired of the same old hack from Jack Black, but I am still interesting in taking my daughter to see KUNG FU PANDA. I can’t help it; I love kung fu movies.

It seems like I have gained weight since starting a physician-monitored weight loss program. How does that work? I hate this. I really hate it. Suck it!

Dr. Phil is a bottom feeder.

I’m hungry for chicken and dumplings. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect meal to eat considering the impending snow storm. Speaking of, I need to see if it is snowing.


Nope. No snow, but it is colder than a witch’s tit in a brass bra.

For some strange reason, I am listening to PM Dawn. Strange urges find you in the middle of the night. Could be worse.

Other interesting movies: Narnia 2, The Dark Knight, Iron Man, and Hellboy 2.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Live Action Dragon Ball Z Coming

The immensely popular manga graphic novel and television show, Dragonball Z, is getting live action silver screen treatment as we speak. Directed by James Wong, it is about "a young boy named Goku seeks out upon his grandfather's dying request to find the great Master Roshi and gather all seven Dragon Balls (of which he has one) in order to prevent Piccolo from succeeding in his desire to use the Dragon Balls to take over the world" (IMDb). It appears they are dropping the "Z" from the name and just going with "Dragonball."

The kids will go crazy for this one. Be prepared.

Dropping Fractions, Long Division from Curriculum

Well that is not exactly what award-winning mathematics professor, Dennis Turck, actually advocates for, but it makes for a good headline, doesn’t it? And the mainstream media has picked up on the story and are running with similar headlines.

Turck makes the point that fractions are more complicated and should be studied when students are engaged in calculus and not before. As for long division, he believes that there is too much of an emphasis on it.

Just a thought: when was the last time you were on the job and had to do long division? Are you more apt to use a calculator to ensure accuracy? I’m not supporting or refuting his claim, but just asking the question.

When we look at countries like Japan, where mathematics scores are much higher, we see that the math curriculum is much different. It is a narrow but deep curriculum, whereas in the US we tend to have a mathematics curriculum that is a mile wide and an inch deep. Also notice that in the US we teach the same math skills over and over, year after year and still come up with lackluster results. Again, I am not supporting Turck’s claim, as much as I am stating that the traditional approach to mathematics is not working in the US. The way we were taught is not necessarily the best approach.

This is a hot topic in education. We have been debating this for some time and it shows up in our classroom discussions at the university. Using calculators in the classroom is also controversial.

Thanks to Jeff for the link.

Music in the Elementary Classroom: Help Me Make the Right Choices

My friends, I need your help. I’ll first explain the philosophy behind what I am doing then connect it to you. Stay with me.

Children learn in different ways and respond to different stimuli and approaches. Psychologist Howard Gardner did a study on what he called Multiple Intelligences, which described the different ways in which humans are intelligent. That is to say, he believed that the idea of intelligence was much larger than book smarts and the memorization of facts. Different people have different types of intelligences. One of those intelligences is Musical/Rhythmic. This is the ability for a person to “think in music and be able to hear patterns, recognize them, and perhaps manipulate them.”

Today’s children are comfortable with multiple inputs such as completing homework while watching television. In fact, using music is a technique used to help students with ADHD to focus their attention so that they can complete their school work. I suspect it would help many students focus. Understanding that, I want to bring music into my classroom. For example, let’s say my future fifth graders are working hard on a group Power Point project. They have researched their topic and are creating this in order to demonstrate their understanding. There will be music playing in the background to help the students stay focused and calm. Those that need to move can bounce their knees to the beat and find comfort in the rhythms.

Here is where you come in. I need help building my musical library. I want to have a wide swatch of musical choices that cover many genres: jazz, classical, rock and roll, classic rock, cultural, folk and bluegrass, rap and hip-hop, and pop. It must all be clean and appropriate, of course. I am looking for suggestions from you. What music would you play or suggest.

I really need help, my friends, about jazz and classical.

I want to play some jazz and classical that the students might recognize and therefore be more likely to enjoy. Then I can increase expose. I do not know enough about jazz or classical to know how to start. The music does not have to be slow. Not only do I need suggestions about the bands, but which songs should I choose?

I have some music in my library that I have thought of:

  • Alison Krauss
  • The Dillards
  • The Beatles
  • Beck (Loser)
  • Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
  • Bob Dylan
  • Bob Marley
  • Bon Jovi
  • Bruce Springstein
  • Lynard Skynard
  • Peter, Paul and Mary
  • PM Dawn
  • The Beach Boys
  • Enya

But there is so much more out there. By the way, if you have any music that you would like to donate to the classroom please let me know. I'd be glad to take it off your hands, and if appropriate, use it in my classroom.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

For the Love of All that is Holy and Good, Use Complete Sentences!

I don’t know if they all just happened to brain fart or if there is some kind of collective stupidity going round the college campus, but today I was in a class of 60-70 people. Teachers, they will all be, just in case you were curious.

The instructor was helping us develop overarching themes for a unit plan – the Big Picture if you will – and requested that we use complete sentences, which she was recording. One after another, these preservice teachers gave her statements void of either a subject or predicate. Every time.

I laughed my big old butt off.

Nice as she was, the instructor would stop and remind everyone that she was looking for complete sentences. She would say things like: “Could you restate that as a complete sentence?” Yet, the idiocy crept along with phrases popping out of their dumb mouths. One girl, empty-headed little thing, kept rearranging her phrase, shifting words, adding words, but she never made a sentence.

Finally the instructor stopped, obviously frustrated at the ignorance of the student body, and stated that a complete sentence has both a subject and a verb. Oh, good grief. I laughed. I was on the front row and the instructor saw me busting at the seams. She smiled back, ever so slightly, and finally someone helped the student dingbat create a subject.

And these, my dear readers, will be teaching your children some day. I think a bit more schooling is due. My guess is that the poor wretch is a teacher because she can play house and pretend to be a mommy, that is until she pops one out herself.

Sometimes I think we are doomed, civilization I mean. How can we expect to educate Americas youngsters when we can’t string four words together. God save us all from the stupid people of the world and there are a lot of them.

I asked my 7-year-old about complete sentences. “A verb is the opposite of a person, place or thing. It tells what the thing in the sentence or story is doing.” [big sign of relief].

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Fat Jack Backs Obama and McCain

The country is tired. The people are tired. They may not realize it, but a significant portion of the American people have hated our leader for nearly two decades. First it came from the conservatives and the venom with which they hate former President Bill Clinton. Then the pendulum moved and the hate and discontent changed sides. We are not hear to debate which is worse, blow jobs or war mongering.

More important than faulty policies, lies to Congress, or unnecessary invasions of other countries, comes the issue of respect. If we do not have respect for our president, then we have a country divided. Ultimately everyone gets hurt.

What is best for our country is a president that can be respected despite his or her politics. I think the two candidates that are respected the most are Barack Obama and John McCain. Anyone else, Hillary or Huckabee, will do nothing but unite a large faction of opposite voters to the hatebox and at this point we do not need that. They may have good policies, but if they are hated, it is awful hard to enact and secure those good policies.

Despite the fact that I seriously disagree with John McCain, I can live with and respect him as a president – as my President. I think it is high time Americans looked for candidates that they can respect, regardless of the candidates political leanings. Let’s be honest, it will be hard for Hillary Clinton to get anything done because of all the hatred of her. It is unfortunate, but true.

All New Knight Rider Premiers in Februrary. Who'd a Thunk It?

I thought for sure that KITT was done for good. What was old is new again as demonstrated by NBC as they are bringing back the cult favorite, Knight Rider.

Click here to see some videos.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Catch a Flick at the Show-Me Film Fest

You love movies, don’t you? Some of you readers, a very small few, actually make your own films. Don’t forget that Springfield is home to the Show-Me Missouri International Film Festival. This year’s event will be from Feb. 15-17 at various place throughout the city: The Springfield Regional Arts Council, The Moxie, and The Gillioz.

The website has this to say about the whole shindig:

The Show-Me Film Festival is an annual event hosted by the Missouri Film Alliance of Springfield, which celebrates the art of independent filmmaking. This year represents the third year that this festival has been a part of the Springfield scene. The event will be held February 15th through 17th, 2008 at these venues: The Springfield Regional Arts Council, The Moxie Theatre, and The Gillioz Theatre.

Here is a list of the films (descriptions from the press release):


El Cantante (Director: Leon Ichaso, USA, 2006, 1 hr 56 min, color)
Husband-wife team Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez team up for the true story of Hector Lavoe as told through his wife, Puchi. A tragic tale of love, redemption and destruction based on the true story of the salsa legend whose voice inspired millions of people. A breathtakingly beautiful and challenging film filled with amazing music and stellar performances from Mark Anthony and J. Lo. (R – for pervasive language, some sexuality, drug use)

Henry May Long (Director: Randall Sharp, USA, 2006, 1 hr 39 min, color)
Henry May is the golden child of a prominent family in 1887 NY. Henry Long is a resourceful entrepreneur. Their chance meeting at the beginning of Long's terminal illness irrevocably changes their lives. Each man needs the other but for very different reasons. (PG-13 – for adult themes.)

The Last Stop for Paul (Director: Neil Mandt, USA, 2006, 83 min, color)
Cliff and Charlie embark on a wild whirlwind tour of the world intent on spreading the ashes of a departed friend who always dreamed of traveling but never took the time to see the world. Shot in over 20 countries, Cliff and Charlie have unbelievable adventures as their lives are changed forever. (PG-13, sexuality.)

Red Road (Director: Andrea Arnold, UK, 2006, 1 hr 53 min, color)
Winner of 17 awards including the Cannes Film Festival Jury prize, Red Road is a taunt portrayal of characters devastated by a tragic accident. Jackie works as a CCTV operator for the police in Glasgow. Each day she watches over a small part of the world, protecting the people living their lives under her gaze. One day a man appears on her monitor, a man she thought she would never see again. A man she never wanted to see again. This extraordinary first feature film by an Academy
Award winning director is a must see. (R - sexuality, language & nudity.)

(BLOGGER’S NOTE: Red Road really appeals to me. It looks like a great film. For what it is worth, this is the one that I recommend.)


Duck Duck Goose (Director: Nathan Springer, USA, 2007, 20 min 30 sec, color)
In this black-comedy set in Springfield, MO and made by students from Missouri State University, a young man named Oed (as in Oedipus) reaches his breaking point. Torn between his slob of a roommate, his cheating ex-girlfriend, his boss who has just fired him and two long-term acquaintances who drive him crazy, Oed tries to decide which one of them must die.
(PG13 – adult language and themes.)

(BLOGGER’S NOTE: Duck Duck Goose also looks good, and it was made by some locals.)

Feeding (Director: James Arnall, USA, 2007, 11 min 45 sec, color)
A suburban homemaker in a loveless marriage finds solace in an intimate but bizarre relationship with her garbage disposal. When her husband learns of her straying affections, she is forced to choose between her two relationships.

In the Name of the Son (Director: Harun Mehmedinovic, Bosnia-Herzegovina, 2007, 25 min, color) After escaping execution, Tarik, a Bosnian prisoner of war, immigrates to the United States looking to leave his past behind. Years later, the Serb man who spared his life shows up on Tarik’s doorstep seeking release and redemption. An extraordinary short film edited by Missourian and MSU graduate, Tyler Earring. (PG13 – adult themes & violence.)

PULSE (Director: Emma Savage, UK, 2007, 12 min 49 sec, color)
PULSE is a fantasy romance with a darkly comic edge. It tells the story of Liam, a young man struggling to come to terms with the death of his wife, Carla. After an accidental electric shock, Liam becomes addicted to electricity believing that it provides a possible means to connect with dead wife.

Pumamercial (Director: Heather Coker, USA, 2007, 8 min 23 sec, color)
From Branson native, director and choreographer, Heather Coker, comes this hybrid film melding long form commercial advertising with short narrative filmmaking. A young man with a dream of greatness journeys far and wide in the pursuit of a pair of perfect dancing shoes. So dance your way to this film and don’t forget your own dancing shoes.

Rabia (Director: Muhammad Ali Hasan, USA, 2008, 23 min 30 sec, color)
Rabia is a woman who decides to become a suicide bomber. From the moment she straps explosives around her waist, we gain insights into Rabia’s past, which is filled with abuse, rejection, and struggle. By the time she steps onto a popular Israeli beach, determined to kill innocent civilians in a massive explosion, we find ourselves asking whether Rabia’s act is one of unmitigated evil or something more complicated? (PG13 – adult themes and violence.)

(BLOGGER’S NOTE: This has controversy written all over it. It also looks profound. Don’t you hate it when artists make it hard to blindly hate?)

The Real Son (Director: Kelly King, USA, 2007, 9 min, color)
A comedy about the communication gap that exists between a country club dad and his artist son. Freddie is 15 and resents that a copy machine is closer to his dad than he is. But Mr. Deansman runs a tight ship and no skate-punk son of his is going to stop him from doing his job...or is he?

(BLOGGER’S NOTE: How about this funny little gem? I think it is right up my alley.)

Reflections (Director: Barry Caldwell, USA, 2007, 15 min 30 sec, color). Come see Missouri native, Adrienne Wilkinson, in this short crime thriller about the supernatural. When Carol looks into a mirror -- any mirror -- she sees images that horrify and repulse her. She's not a Medium, she's not a Ghost Whisperer, she's a frightened young woman on the edge of madness. Will the handsome stranger who offers to help turn out to be her salvation, or her final vision of terror? The cast includes actors who have appeared in Xena: Warrior Princess, 24, The Sopranos, Deadwood, and Kill Bill.

Simulacra (Director: Tatchapon lertwirojkul, USA, 2006, 4 min 6 sec, color)
This animated short looks at the life of a planet made up entirely of robots and mechanical life forms. When one of the robots discovers organic life on the planet, he wants to save it, no matter what peril he must face to do so.

Wasp (Director: Andrea Arnold, UK, 2003, 26 min, color)
A gritty and poignant glimpse into the life of an impoverished single mother in Dartford, England. When she fails to tell an old friend who asks her out that she has four kids, her lie places her children in real jeopardy. Sad, touching and full of suspense, this 2005 Academy Award winner for Best Short Live Action Narrative is worth going out of your way to see. (R – Sexuality, brief nudity, adult language.)

(BLOGGER’S NOTE: WASP looks very intriguing.)


Behind Forgotten Eyes (Director: Anthony Gilmore, shot and edited by Ryan Seale, South Korea, 2007, 76 min, color) During WWII over 200,000 Korea women were forcefully used as sexual slaves by the Japanese they demand to be heard. Behind Forgotten Eyes examines the enduring legacy of this horrifying chapter of history in both Korea and Japan with a candid look into an issue that has been ignored for far too long. (PG13 – adult themes.)

Behind This Convent (Director: Gilbert Ndahayo, Rwanda, 2007)
Survivor and storyteller, Gilbert Ndahayo, pulls together testimonials of those who survived Rwanda’s genocide. A heart rendering documentary. (PG13 – adult themes.)

Beyond Belief (Director: Beth Murphy, Associate Producer, Sean Flynn, USA, 2007, 97 min, color) A remarkable and moving documentary about the lives of two women widowed during the September 11th attacks. Determine to make something positive come out of their personal tragedies, they set out to help war-widows in Afghanistan, the country where the terrorists who took their husbands’ lives were trained. In the process, they discover a powerful bond with each other and an unlikely kinship with widows halfway around the world.

Beyond the Call (Director: Adrian Belic, USA, 2006, 82 min, color)
From the Academy Award nominated director of Ghengis Blues comes this Mother Teresa meets Indiana Jones adventure involving three middle-aged Samaritans. Ed Artis, James Laws and Walt Ratterman’s idea of adventure involves taking desperately needed food and medicine into the world's most forbidding yet beautiful places on Earth, always on the front lines of war. (Adult language and themes).

Ghengis Blues (Director: Roko Belic, USA, 1999, 88 min, color)
This Academy Award nominated documentary takes a look at the extraordinary odyssey of a U.S. bluesman, Paul Pena. Blind and recently widowed, Pena has taught himself the exotic art of throat singing. When he’s invited to the 1995 to attend the annual throat-singing competition in Kyzyl, he undertakes an arduous and emotional journey that reveals much about the universal brotherhood of man and musicians.

Sin by Silence (Director: Olivia Klaus, USA, 2007, 61 min, color)
This powerful documentary investigates the lives of five women in prison for murdering their husbands. Inside the California Institution for Women, the first inmate-initiated, inmate-led advocacy group, Convicted Women Against Abuse, shatters many misconceptions about domestic violence.

(BLOGGER’S NOTE: All of these documentaries look good. It would be hard to pick.)


Single event tickets for films for panels
$7.50 – adult
$6.50 – children, students with id’s, seniors over 60 and MFAS members)

Film Maker Pass
See as many films and panels as you choose on Saturday only.

Weekend Pass
Includes the Film Maker Pass and the film screenings on Fri-Sat at The Moxie.

Film Maker Celebration
Nonna’s Restaurant
Saturday, 9:30-10:30 pm
Celebrate with the filmmakers after the Saturday night screenings.

“Meet the Filmmaker” events are free.
The Sunday awards ceremony is free.

For info contact:
Helen Krudwig

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

OSCAR Nods Announced

We love the Oscars. Why not? A little glit and glamour in one’s life can be a nice thing. Skinny Kitty and I have seen a few of the flicks, but graduate school, the child, and life in general tend to get in the way of our film viewing. So far we have seen:

Sweeney Todd
The Savages
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

The Bourne Ultimatum is waiting patiently in its Netflix sleeve, begging to be played. And Juno? Well, Juno is a must see. Alas, I have not been able to check it out, but is on the Netflix queue. The Moxie is going to show the animated shorts and maybe some others. I do not rightly recall as I have slept since we went there, and there is no word on their website. Keep it in mind.

Sweeny Todd was fantabulous. Enchanted was a bit too romancy for my taste. The daughter, however, was truly … enchanted … by it. (Couldn’t resist.) Pirates was terrible. The Savages was solid. Ratatouille was good but not great.

I think Persepolis deserves a good look-see. It is based on a graphic novel about an Iranian girl and I think will be surprisingly great. Money to nothing it wins the Oscar for best animated move.

Here’s the list of nominated films:

Performance by an actor in a leading role
George Clooney in "Michael Clayton"
Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood"
Johnny Depp in "Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"
Tommy Lee Jones in "In the Valley of Elah"
Viggo Mortensen in "Eastern Promises"

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Casey Affleck in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"
Javier Bardem in "No Country for Old Men"
Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Charlie Wilson's War"
Hal Holbrook in "Into the Wild"
Tom Wilkinson in "Michael Clayton"

Performance by an actress in a leading role
Cate Blanchett in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age"
Julie Christie in "Away from Her"
Marion Cotillard in "La Vie en Rose"
Laura Linney in "The Savages"
Ellen Page in "Juno"

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Cate Blanchett in "I'm Not There"
Ruby Dee in "American Gangster"
Saoirse Ronan in "Atonement"
Amy Ryan in "Gone Baby Gone"
Tilda Swinton in "Michael Clayton"

Best animated feature film of the year
"Persepolis" (based on a graphic novel)
"Surf's Up"

Achievement in art direction
"American Gangster"
"The Golden Compass"
"Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"
"There Will Be Blood"

Achievement in cinematography
"The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
"No Country for Old Men"
"There Will Be Blood"

Achievement in costume design
"Across the Universe"
"Elizabeth: The Golden Age"
"La Vie en Rose"
"Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"

Achievement in directing
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
"Michael Clayton"
"No Country for Old Men"
"There Will Be Blood"

Best documentary feature
"No End in Sight"
"Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience"
"Taxi to the Dark Side"

Best documentary short subject
"La Corona (The Crown)"
"Salim Baba"
"Sari's Mother"

Achievement in film editing
"The Bourne Ultimatum"
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
"Into the Wild"
"No Country for Old Men"
"There Will Be Blood"

Best foreign language film of the year
"Beaufort" Israel
"The Counterfeiters" Austria
"Katyn" Poland
"Mongol" Kazakhstan
"12" Russia

Achievement in makeup
"La Vie en Rose"
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
"The Kite Runner"
"Michael Clayton"
"3:10 to Yuma"

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
"Falling Slowly" from "Once"
"Happy Working Song" from "Enchanted"
"Raise It Up" from "August Rush"
"So Close" from "Enchanted"
"That's How You Know" from "Enchanted"

Best motion picture of the year
"Michael Clayton"
"No Country for Old Men"
"There Will Be Blood"

Best animated short film
"I Met the Walrus"
"Madame Tutli-Putli"
"My Love (Moya Lyubov)"
"Peter & the Wolf"

Best live action short film
"At Night"
"Il Supplente (The Substitute)"
"Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)"
"Tanghi Argentini"
"The Tonto Woman"

Achievement in sound editing
"The Bourne Ultimatum"
"No Country for Old Men"
"There Will Be Blood"

Achievement in sound mixing
"The Bourne Ultimatum"
"No Country for Old Men"
"3:10 to Yuma"

Achievement in visual effects
"The Golden Compass"
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"

Adapted screenplay
"Away from Her"
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
"No Country for Old Men"
"There Will Be Blood"

Original screenplay
"Lars and the Real Girl"
"Michael Clayton"
"The Savages"

Monday, January 21, 2008

Tidbits from the World of Celluloid

Independent film lovers residing in Ozarks country will be glad to hear that The Moxie is working to procure the nasty little nail biter, TEETH, which has been blogged about before. Skinny Kitty and I cannot wait to check out this cheeky little bit of muffness. Red Badge of Courage? I should say so.

Trailer is here
Ain’t It Cool News Review is here

Speaking of Springfield’s great chamber of fancy indy flicks, some friends asked us to accompany them to The Moxie for an dose of depressing chuckles at the film, THE SAVAGES, starring Laura Linney, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Philip Bosco. If you daysr of growth were spent in shambles, then take some Xanax before you go. If’n your parental units are seriously aged, then Prozac is more your speed for this flick. Either way, growing old is soon upon us all and dealing with ailing parents is a reality of life. Great film, but quite sad. It made me calculate my mortality, and that of my ma and pa, and I’m not sure I liked that feeling, thank you very much. Still, a great but neurotic movie.

We saw a very horrific preview while waiting for THE SAVAGES. It was for THE ORPHANAGE, presented by none other than Guillermo Del Toro, of Pan’s Labyrinth. Skinny Kitty leaned over and said she was having none of it. It cracks me up because when we were dating she loved these kinds of movies. After having a kid … her world changed. Seeing children in distress sends the wife over the edge. I’ll be seeing this one sans the Kitty.

Dreamworks is coming out with what looks like might be a fun one, and it has nothing to do with ants, or bugs, bees, or – God forbid – any more freaking penguins. KUNG FU PANDA stars Jack Black and hopes to feed the ninja (or samurai) inside us all. Come on. Who doesn’t like a good piece of Black Belt Theatre? And you can take the kiddies to this one!

Larry and Bryan went to see CLOVERFIELD. I was invited, but prior commitments got in the way. In the long run, it was probably a good thing as I tend to get motion sickness. I left BLAIR WITCH feeling the need to hurl the giblets. No kidding. Based on Larry’s review, I think this film is best left as a rental if I am to make it through without needing a bucket, a 7-Up and a nap afterwards. I still want to see it. I love monster movies and horror flicks.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Draft Finished & Sent

I’ve been working on a writing project for weeks now. I started writing over Christmas break and have continued pounding on it until Saturday, January 19, 2008, 4:38 p.m. It was only 28 pages (6,300 or so words) but it took me a long time. Curse that “research” – damned dirty word. Anyway, it has been submitted and is a weight off my shoulders.

I want to thank my trusted friends who proofed it, made suggestions, and gave critical comments to make my work better.

Big Paulie
Lori the teacher
Eric the teacher
Skinny Kitty

You all really helped me and I sincerely appreciate every single comment and criticism that I received. My work is better – much better – because of you. Good editors really are a writer’s best friend.

Bless your hearts.

Yo, ho! It’s time for a beer.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest was Dead in the Water

Can’t say that I am too impressed with the movie. It was dead in the water. Skinny Kitty (wife of FJ) felt that the first two were better. Yeppers. I would agree with that. Number 3 seemed a bit disjointed and confusing, although I’m glad it did not have a fairy tale ending. Rotten Tomatoes slapped a rotten label on it (45%). Oh well. Life goes on.

Speaking of movies, have you been to the Marmot’s den lately? She turned us on to the Sundance award winner, Teeth. We are disturbed, but we love stuff like this. It's been added to the Netflix queue.


Check the review at Ain't It Cool News. Just so you know, it is not uncommon for young boys to grow up thinking that the V-JJ has a set of chompers with which to nibble the unsuspecting digit.

The Manga Bible Received

Last April I brought you the story of The Manga Bible, a graphic adaptation of The Holy Bible done in the style of Japanese comics, called manga.

It finally came in and it is pretty cool. I have not read it yet, but both my wife and I plan to. Interesting is the ability for young people to access biblical stories in a contemporary way. However, I suspect that format may be interesting to more than just kids., but it is intended for ages 11-18.

In broad terms, it will offer an overview of the Gospels, the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, Jesus’ death and resurrection, the book of the Apostles, the letter to the Corinthians and Revelations. That is a lot to cover in 218 pages.

Personally, I would enjoy taking some time in our Sunday School class to read through this and talk about it.

Blogaroni and Cheese

It is time again for The Blogaroni Awards, the premiere award for bloggers living in the Ozarks or thereabout. Many good blogs out there. To be honest, there are so many local blogs these days that I cannot read them all. It’s a shame too, because I suspect I am missing out on some good stuff.

If you blog locally then you can vote. Get the low down here. Get a list of the nominees here. You may notice that we are nominated. Thanks for whoever saw fit. Twas not ourselves. We spent time nominating worthy blogs, but we sincerely appreciate the head nod. Only local bloggers can vote; be sure to do so by Feb. 15.

It is our opinion that we should all have a blogger's meet up again before that completely dies out. What better reason than to get together to pass out the awards and have a little drink to boot? (One need not imbibe in al-cee-haal to be a part.)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Helicopter Moms & Taking Responsibility

Go figure. The Sigma Sigma Sigma national greek organization and MSU find that a sorority on campus is consistently disregarding warnings and violating rules. Who is at fault? The girls blame the university and Tri Sig nationals. They are just being too unfair.

My daughter can tell you my response to that: A fair is where pigs compete for ribbons.

The Moms of the new initiates are all up in arms that their poor angel babies are going to miss out on the greek experience. As if the only experience that counts in college is a greek one. The excuse, of course, is that everyone is doing it. I expect that kind of response from a teenager. For a Mother to proclaim the same (about underage drinking and other infractions) is stupendiously ridiculous. Who are these people?

I'll tell you who they are. They are the same moms, called Helicopter Moms, who run to their angel baby's rescue when a school teacher tries to actually correct that student. Afterall, their little girly-girls would never do anything to anyone. They would never stir up trouble or do inferior school work. Not that school work is the issue.

Obviously school work – an education – is not the top priority of any of these ladies or their parents. Sure, there is a lot of underage drinking in college. It is typical, but that does not mean that the university looks the other way. When you get caught, I assure you that the university brings down sanctions.

Just ask the several fraternities that have been kicked off campus over the years. These moms have been defending their sweeties since elementary school and now we see the ramifications. Sometimes kids need to be allowed to fail – and most importantly – to learn from that failure.

Read this story, and this one, and this one from the News-Leader.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Governor’s Council on Disability Awards Local Woman ‘Educator of the Year’

Yesterday, the wife of Fat Jack was awarded the Educator of the Year in a ceremony at a local university. It was part of the Governor’s Council on Disability’s 16th Annual Inclusion Awards. Read that to mean that she makes sure the classroom includes everyone, regardless of disability.

Classy. Powerful. Smart. She’s a keeper, that one. And a proud liberal woman. Can you hear her roar? I’m going deaf from it, but I carry on. Love will do that to you.

I stopped by to watch the awards between classes, but I only stayed a minute (long enough to have some cake). I really wanted to be there for the whole thing, but school got in the way.

Huckabee: Amend Constitution to Reflect God's Standards

Some have wondered if Gov. Huckabee’s religious views are being overemphasized in the media. It is a legitimate question and could be true. But consider Huckabee’s own words about how the US Constitution needs to be changed to be more in line with God’s Words.

I find this an interesting argument as I thought, according to the religious right, that the United States was a Christian nation, our government established under Christian beliefs, and our Constitution set up by Christians. So why exactly does the Constitution need to be amended to be in line with God’s Word if it is already a Christian document?

I assume that he is referring here to a Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage, but his words appear to be about more than that. Apparently, he thinks we are changing God’s Word “so it lines with up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.”

treat each other” has nothing to do with gay marriage. That has to do with interpersonal communication. What is he really saying here? Does he think we should treat some people (who shall go unnamed) differently? Maybe he thinks we should stone homosexuals? Probably not, but it appears to me that he thinks that some contemporary view of treating others with respect and dignity is against God’s Words.

I think his word choice matters. It’s hard to say considering we only have a clip. I wish there were more of the speech so we could explore this further. Either way, I think we have demonstrated that his religious beliefs are pushing his social agenda and that will affect the decisions he makes and the priorities he sets if he gets into the White House. So I say his religious beliefs are fair game. He made them an issue.

And just so we are clear, aren't there other groups in the world that believe their government should be a religious government? And aren't we fighting those folks because we consider them crazy extremists? I'm not saying that Huckabee is like the Taliban. I am simply pointing out that he may be much more extreme in his views than he has let himself be portrayed. That maybe his is a religious extremist and not so much of a uniter or a moderate.

[Thanks for our Internet Granny who pointed this out.]

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Just A Small Freak Out; No Big Deal

I have been in school for a total of two days and I am freaking out. Yep. That about sums it up. It sucks to feel overwhelmed so early in the semester. I carry 14 hours, one of which is a night class, and an 8-week student teaching practicum. I have a papers to write, tests to take, a portfolio to design, lesson plans to write, unit plans to write, projects and the list just keeps on going.

This semester is all about due dates and plenty of them. Details and little due dates are not my strong point. Today, the instructors (there were five of them in one class) told us not to read certain chapters of our manual because the amount of requirements will freak us out. No kidding? Just hearing that freaks me out. I need a drink.




[breathing again]

Really, I should get used to it. Good teachers put in 45-60 hours (or more) per week and I plan on being one of those good teachers.

As for blog posts, you should probably expect to see a shortage, a decline, but I am not going away. Blogging is my healthy outlet so I will still do it in order to maintain sanity. That's the plan anyway. If Homer go crazy, well then, I can't really say what will happen.

Mac Has Done It Again!

PC users can poopoo Mac all they want. Apple is years ahead when it comes to technology innovation. Period. Case in point: Apple iPhone. Now Mac has come out with the thinnest laptop ever – MacBook Air. Holy crap this thing is thin and light. Oh, to have one of those in the backpack when heading to school.

Here are some cool details:
  • .16 inches at its thinnest
  • .76 inches at its thickest
  • 3.0 pounds
  • 80 gig hard drive
  • 5 hour battery wireless productivity
  • 13.3 -inch widescreen display
  • LED backlit screen (which consumes less power)
  • Full-sized backlit keyboard
  • Large touchpad with pinch, swipe and rotate (like with the Apple iPhone)
  • Magnet-safe
  • mico-dvi port
  • iSight video camera
  • Wireless backup using Time Capsule (a wireless external hard drive and wireless base station)
  • And so much more
This is a wireless-based machine, so be aware that there is an external USB-based, slot loading, 8x, DVD/CD burner (called a SuperDrive). But how many of us, really, burn CD's and DVD's on the fly? I don't think I ever do it. I do it at home, but not out and about. But it is something that one must consider.

If the environment is important to you, the MacBook Air has a highly recyclable, mercury-free aluminum enclosure, mercury-free display with arsenic-free glass, PVC-free internal cables, and mostly recyclable packaging. It meets Energy Start requirements and received a Silver rating from EPEAT.
Wow, this is a real wireless laptop.

Get the details
See the Guided Tour

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Crazies Come Out of the Woodwork

This fundy nutbank thinks God is telling us to destroy our environment just so we can keep driving our gas-guzzling cars. Okay, that may be a bit of an overexaggeration of his point. He certainly says that in order to save America, that we must elect a Christian president.

What he doesn't know is that there is no such thing as a Christian politican.

Was Paul the Enemy of Christ?

I am no Biblical scholar so I cannot really comment on this Voice of the Day about how Paul (also known as Saul) was the enemy of Christ, but it brings up an interesting argument. I haven't studied the Dead Sea Scrolls or the ancient texts from which the King James version was written, so any thoughts I might have would be based on conjecture. Read the article for yourself.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Gunslinger is Born

This has been my weekend to read my comics and I just finished a doosey: a graphic adaptation of Steven King’s Dark Tower called A GUNSLINGER BORN. Amazing. The art is stunning and the story is an excellent adaptation of the original. This miniseries is comprised of seven issues and covers the time when Roland Deschain becomes a gunslinger and is then sent to Hambry where he falls in love with Susan Delgado and battles the forces of evil at the same time.

The good news is that the story is continuing with the next miniseries in the Dark Tower saga: THE LONG ROAD HOME. It will consist of five issues and if the first series is any indication of what the second series will be, it is money well spent.

The seven issues of THE GUNSLINGER BORN is available in a hard bound edition.

Please Buy Some Cookies

Dear readers, a note from my daughter:

This is (daughter of Fat Jack) talking to you and I’m selling girl-scout cookies for my troop because we looked at a magazine and we saw all this cool stuff! And I was wondering if you want to buy some! Well, if you do, go to my dad’s Email address ( and I’ll call you. If you want to buy the cookies they are $4 a box!

Thank you and have a nice day,

(Fat Jack’s daughter)

Like she said, if you want to order cookies, feel free to email me at and leave your phone number. Then my daughter will call you and answer any questions you have. Click here for the list of cookies available.

Friday, January 11, 2008

'The Lone Ranger' is a Great Read

When I was a kid I remember watching the old Lone Ranger TV series in black and white, and did I love him. He was my hero, a kind of Superman with a six shooter. The Lone Ranger was a good and honorable man, he helped others, and stood for justice.

I loved it.

Dynamite Entertainment has re-introduced The Lone Ranger as a comic for a new generation and it is simply fantastic. Brett Matthews understands the character, taking his time with the story, developing characters and a motivation. Because of my love of The Lone Ranger, I started collecting the series almost a year ago, but I had never read a single issue until tonight.

It is not appropriate for children, but it is a great western. I highly recommend it. And fear not. There is no stereotypical Indian caricatures here, only a well-thought out story with breathtaking art to match.

I believe a trade paperback is available so you do not have to try to track down all the individual issues. See your local comic book shop to order it. You can probably also order it from your local bookstore, but I would encourage you to support your local comic shop instead. Stu at Games, Comics, Etc. (in the shopping center next to Andy’s on South Campbell) would be glad to help you.

Some of Dynamite's other titles include, but are not limited to:

  • Red Sonja
  • Army of Darkness
  • Battlestar Balactica
  • Xena: Warrior Princess
  • Highlander
  • Zorro
  • Terminator 2: Infinity
  • Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters
  • and several more

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Holy Civil Engagement, Batman! 10-Year-Old Boy Cares About Recent History

I was holding hands with my daughter today when I picked her up from school. It was raining slightly and very cold. I had to park quite a way down the street. As we were walking and talking about her day a voice rang out:

“Mr. Fat Jack! Mr. Fat Jack!”

The fifth grade boys were piling into a van, the doors still open. One brother pointed to the other one. “He has a comic.”

So he did. I know these boys because I frequently substitute in their class. It is an eMINTS classroom and I am one of the only substitutes in the entire city who is working on his eMINTS certification.

I stopped and the young scholar pulled out a copy of THE 9-11 REPORT: A GRAPHIC ADAPTATION! Holy civil engagement, Batman! To my amazement, this 10-year-old boy had gone to the county library and checked out THE 9-11 REPORT.

He proudly told me that he had already read some of it and it was great. The kids in this school know that Mr. Fat Jack is into comics. They know it because when I teach, I tend to take one with me. Just testing the waters is all.

This boy was so proud to tell me that he was reading a comic. It meant something to him. Quite frankly, I would have suspected the reading level to be a bit high for him. I was wrong.

Today, I am proud to be a teacher who promotes the use of comics in the classroom. It can make a difference.

Christian Code Words

Is there a covert message to Christians in Huckabee's speeches? Busplunge picked up on the hidden text and posted some interesting links.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Mark Your Ballot You Lazy Butt Nuggets

I've sent my nominations in for the second annual Blogaroni Awards and I hear that most have not done the same. It is award season time, so come on all you bloggers, send in those nominations and lets get this thing going.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Dusty Old Bones, Full of Green Dust

My 37-year-old wife just received her first AARP mailing! Oh there is such justice in the world. Someone, somewhere in the hallowed halls of the old folks agency must have heard her complain about being old and growing grey hairs cause wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am she’s on the blue hair mailing list. It wasn’t addressed to occupant, but to Ms. Fat Jack.

The mailing is quite informative, listing position statements on health care, social security, and financial security for all the presidential candidates, not just the top tier.

Tomorrow we go shopping for a Jazzy Chair and those gawd-awful cataract sunglasses.

CU: Not to be Compared with Ditch Diggers!

Frankly, I’m thankful for the ditch diggers and sewer cleaners of the world. They do our civilized community a valuable service. Apparently, one City Utilities (CU) executive found that being compared to Springfield Public Works Department was a smack in the face him telling reporter Mike O’Brien:

"You can't compare us to ditch diggers!"

I should say not. Look at how much they make, according to the story:

“So it seems odd to many that the CU general manager's compensation is almost double the city manager's. And that a half-dozen top CU assistants make more than the city manager. And that 80 of CU's 1,000 employees were paid more than $100,000 in 2006, compared to 17 among City Hall's workforce of 1,600. And that CU spends five times as much per person on its "company picnic" as City Hall does for its workers.”

And CU wonders why the public is upset. I’m sure John Twitty’s electricity was on skippy quick after the ice storm. Read the article in the News-Leader. O’Brien gives CU a much needed hickory switch across the rump. Hopefully the attitude adjustment works.

Research Support for Looping in Education

It is called “looping” and it is one of the most innovative techniques in the educational field, although my teachers at the university have virtually ignored the subject, save a passing mention in one class.

In essence, looping occurs when one teacher follows a group of students through several grades. In some instances, a teacher gets a group of students in kindergarten and he remains their teacher until they graduate elementary school. In other cases, looping occurs for two to three years, say third through fifth grades.

It is a lot of work on the part of the teacher having to develop a years worth of lesson plans for multiple grades. The pay off is that the teacher-student relationship is stronger and there is much more consistency in the lives of the children. Less time is wasted in developing new relationships and learning the new teacher’s classroom norms (the fancy new word for rules).

Thomas J. Hanson, editor of OPEN EDUCATION blog, just wrote an excellent article on looping. I like his blog and decided to dedicate a blog roll just to education. If you are interested in public education then give him a click. If you know of other good links, let me know.

Personally, I would be up for it, although I think I would prefer a third-sixth loop rather than a K-sixth loop. My particular skills are better suited for older, independent youngsters. Seems to me that setting up a dual loop in a school (K-2 and 3-6) would work really well for both teachers and students. Some teachers are better suited for the K-2 kids and others (like me) work best with older ones.

I think the main drawback could come with personality conflicts between student and teacher. Not everyone gets alone with everyone. Duh. This happens in non-looping classes too, but in that case the relationship must only be endured for nine months. Common sense, it would seem, would tell us that if there is a significant problem a student could be transferred into a different loop where he or she might find more success.

Why don’t more schools use this model? Resistance to change? Resistance to the extra required work in developing lesson plans? Resistance in administration or the community? I don't know. Click here for a pdf of some research that supports looping.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Lying Liars and the Armor of Christ They Wear

I was trying to read my comics last night and Ms. Fat Jack insisted on watching the Democratic part of the debate last night. Daughter had neighborhood children over for a sleepover last night and we unfortunately missed the Republican side of the debate.

I finally quit reading because the debate was too distracting. We watched as Edwards dumped a big bucket of hot poo atop of Sen. Clinton. He severed his alliance with her last night and is partnering with Obama. Crack me up! The Iowa caucus was more influential than I realized. Personally, I thought that was the most interesting and telling aspect of the debate. Gov. Richardson did a nice job and I can’t help wondering if he isn’t the real candidate.

I woke this morning and read my blogs and what to my amazement did I find but lies. Sniderman has the cud about Sen. Obama. True to political fashion, someone, somewhere is trying to swiftboat Obama with utter lies and Sniderman is none too happy. The email states:
  • Obama is a radical Muslim.
  • He was sworn into office using the Koran and not the Bible.
  • He only joined Christianity for political reasons.
  • Obama was educated as a Muslim.
  • and much more.
Of course it is all a bunch of nonsensical pollywhomp. Snopes has the truth here.

I think back to a friend of mine who used to routinely send me lies, which tried to pass off truth, about liberal politicians, mostly Sen. Hillary Clinton. When I proved that his emails were lies, his response was the snopes dot com was not God.

I wonder, who is it that makes up these lies? Atheists perhaps? I think not. It mostly likely, in my opinion, comes from conservative Christians. So much is made of the attack on Christians and yet we have attacks like this that come from those who claim Christ. It makes me crazy mad when nuts claim Christianity. I believe in their right to believe as they choose, but it is so hard to accept hate and lies, especially when they come from people of my own faith. The same Christians have done the same with Gov. Romney, making him out to be a polygamist just because he is Mormon.

Then I flipped over to Simple Thoughts and saw a link to more horse hockey about how all Muslims are evil and trying to destroy the world. All of them Muslims. Every single one. Nothing but rapists and terrorists. (Not that Larry agrees with the blogger. Larry was simply arguing that the man shouldn’t be arrested even for speaking hateful lies, to which I agree.) The man promoting lies, and being prosecuted for it, claims to wear Christ as his armor. Ahhh!

If liars and haters want to claim Christ, then so be it. I tolerate their right to do so, but I have the right not to like it and to say something about it. That is why I told my friend to stop sending me email lies about liberals. I won’t be a part of it.

Holy Remiss Batman!

My fine blogger friends, I have been remiss in updating my blog role. Many pardons. I've just added a whole bunch of blogs that I have been reading for a long time. I just never bothered to update.

The 2 Dollar Bill
Michelle Sherwood
The Life of Jason
The View from "I" Level
Complaints Department
The Graphic Classroom

If you are a local blogger and not on the list, then it is simply an oversight. Email me and I'll add you in.

As a sad reminder, I realized that I still had John Stone's blog linked. I sat and thought of him for a while this a.m.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

There Are No Shortcuts

This book is highly recommended for teachers and parents.

Paul called me on the cell phone. “You need to read this,” he said. He had a book by a contemporary fifth grade teacher in Los Angeles that he wanted me to read. Paul told me about teacher Rafe Esquith and his many years at an elementary school he calls The Jungle and I was hooked. I put down my comics, wenty without writing a comic book review for a week and read “There Are No Shortcuts.” From the jacket:

“Year and after year, Rafe Esquith’s fifth-grade studens excel. They read passionately, far above their grade level; tackle albegra; and stage Shakespeare so professionally that they often wow the great Shakespearean actor himself, Sir Ian McKellen. Yet Esquith teaches at an inner-city school known as the Jungel, where few of his students speak English at home, and many are from poor or troubled familieis. What’s his winning recipe? A diet of intensive learning mixed with a lot of kindness and fun. His kids attend class from 6:30 a.m. until well after 4 p.m., right through most of their vacations. They take field trips to Europe and Yosemite. They play rock and roll. Mediocrity has no place in their classroom. And the results follow them for life, as they go on to colleges such as Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford.

“Popssessed by a fierce idealism, Esquith works even harder than his students. As an outspoken maverick of public education (his heroes include Huck Finn and Atticus Finch), he admits to significant mistakes and his share of disputes with administrators and collegues. Yet, we all – teachers, parents, citizens – have much to learn from his candor and uncompromising vision.”

The book is somewhat self-congratulatory, but if he does what he says he does, then I think he has a right to pat his own back just a bit. Make no mistake, he puts his weaknesses on the table too, letting us see his shortcomings.

Esquith dazzles with anecdotes galore and lets us see the good, the bad and the ugly of the educational field. He pulls no punches and holds teachers and administrators up to the standards that he holds himself and his students to.

For those teachers who wish to do more than work 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and hack their way through the daily grind of test prep and textbook chapters, this is the read. Esquith prepares us for the world we are about to engage in and the struggles and punishments coming our way for trying to be a great, innovative, caring and questioning facilitator of education.

Teachers beware. According to Esquith, other teachers and administrators do not always appreciate hard working, master teachers. This is a good read.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Iowa Cock Us

As excited as I am to have several possible candidates from which to choose, I am still disillusioned at the entire political process. I find it frustrating that all is laid at the feet of Iowa. Honestly, does Iowa speak for the entire country? Should we let Iowa speak for the entire country? Could it be that they do not speak for us, but rather we fall in line with them out of a need to say that we picked, voted for, the winner? What a worthless dog-and-pony show this whole caucus thing is.

In the end, we will all get screwed by greed and corruption, money, and good old-fashioned lies. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother, but I do and I even get excited about the prospect of choosing the person that will end up establishing policy that will only serve to help a few rich people get richer, piss all over the poor, and strip the middle class of value. It’s the American dream.

I’m hungry. Apple pie anyone?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Where Am I?

Writing 25-page paper. Reading an inspiring novel on teaching, by a real teacher.

Cannot … move
Cannot … type
Cannot … think
Cannot … write
Must … breathe … air


All is likely to be silent for a few days.

Et Tu?

It is a U2 week for me. The new year rolled around and I was searching the iTunes library for something new. I had been listening to a hodge-podge list of folk for the longest time. I seem to write fluidly with Bob Dylan; Jim & Kathy Lansford; Peter, Paul & Mary; Simon & Garfunkel; and Natalie Merchant in the background. But the new year clamored for something a bit more … more … bloody even if it is not Sunday.

I’m not really a fan of the new U2. I do not know why. I discovered U2 late in high school and fell in love with The Joshua Tree, which is mostly what I’m listening to with a little Sunday Bloody Sunday thrown in. (I do not have the entire SBS album.)

I have a chapter in a book to write and I’m hoping U2 will inspire me to write prophetic lines of educational enlightenment. I am a bit nervous about it all. It is a daunting task, but as soon as the girls are out of the house today I am reading and organizing my notes and hopefully popping a few keystrokes on the iMac. (and I Thank God I am not so unlucky as to be forced to use Vista.)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Challenge Day Makes Difference for High School Students

High school students from across the country have started down a path toward understanding their own school community and the power of words and attitudes and it has made a difference toward racism, discrimination and bullying.

The program, known as Challenge Day, was on Oprah last night (Jan. 1, 2008) and I found it very interesting to hear these high school students pour out their souls and their pain, and begin to understand how their behaviors and attitudes can drastically affect others.

If you are a teacher, then I suggest you watch that Oprah episode and watch the videos online. Together, real teachers and administrators – good ones – can help create a better school environment so students can learn.

All it takes is two committed teachers or administrators to get the ball rolling.